Strategies Proposed by Various Serpents for Their Welfare

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Vasuki Convenes a Meeting of Serpents to Find a Way to Neautralize Kadru’s Curse

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Vasuki called for a meeting with his serpent brothers to find a way to protect themselves and their race from their mother’s curse.

In this post, we will read about the strategies proposed by various

One group of serpents suggested that they should approach Janamejaya disguised as superior Brahmins and convince him to cancel the snake sacrifice.

Another group of snakes, who considered themselves very wise, gave an alternate suggestion. A better way out, according to them, was to become Janamejaya’s favourite counsellors. Since the king would have a high regard for them, he would certainly ask for their advice before conducting the snake sacrifice. The snakes posing as the king’s counsellors, would convince him against the snake sacrifice by pointing out the evil that would happen in this life as well as the next as a result of the sacrifice.

Another suggestion which was proposed was to bite the person who was appointed to conduct the sacrifice. Not only that person, but everyone who knew the rites of the snake sacrifice, so with their demise, there wouldn’t be anyone to conduct the sacrifice.

Some of the more nobler snakes did not agree with people who knew how to perform the sacrifice. They said, “It is not correct to kill brahmins. In times of danger, let us find a righteous solution because unrighteousness eventually destroys the world.” 

In response to this objection, some snakes suggested that they should become clouds and pour rain onto the sacrificial fire and extinguish it to prevent the sacrifice. Another alternative suggested was to prevent the sacrifice by stealing the Soma juice which was necessary for the sacrifice.

This wave of virtue did not last long since another group of snakes immediately suggested that they bite the people who would attend the sacrifice thus spreading terror all along. Other snakes suggested that they prevent the sacrifice by defiling the food with urine and dung.

Others suggested that they should become the king’s Ritwika and demand their fee before the sacrifice and somehow prevent the king from performing the sacrifice.

Some snakes suggested binding the king when he stepped into a lake, while yet another group of snakes said they should bite and kill the king and thus destroy the root cause of the sacrifice.

After making all these suggestions, the snakes turned to Vasuki and said, “O you who hears with his eyes, we have given you our suggestions. Now do what you feel is best.”

After reflecting on all the proposed ideas, Vasuki said, “I don’t think these ideas are virtuous. I am responsible for ensuring the welfare of the snakes, therefore, I will have to bear the final credit or discredit that comes upon us because of the way we carry out our task. I think we should meet our illustrious father, Sage Kasyapa. He is the only person who can help us.

Note: There was one more snake in the group, called Elapatra, who was privy to some additional knowledge about the sacrifice. In the next post, we will read about his suggestion for the welfare of the snakes.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Elapatra’s Suggestion to His Snake Brothers